Cubs can’t harness the wind in 10-6 loss to Diamondbacks

Cubs Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins was challenged by 25+ mph gusting winds during his speech following the unveiling of his statue at Gallagher Way on Friday at Wrigley Field. It took a little dexterity for the 79-year-old Jenkins to hold down the flapping pages of his speech with one hand while holding the microphone in the other.

But Jenkins — a foremost authority on conditions at Wrigley Field — knew he didn’t have the biggest problem on this day.

“The wind is blowing out to right field — watch out, boys!” Jenkins said to laughter from the crowd at the unveiling. “Jeez –I pitched many a day coming up Addison and turning on to the ballpark and going, ‘The wind’s blowing out today.'”

Fergie’s warning proved prescient, as Cubs pitchers allowed seven home runs –including four off starter Kyle Hendricks — in a 10-6 loss to the Diamondbacks before an enthusiastic crowd of 31,235 at the Fergie Jenkins Statue Dedication Game.

The Cubs countered with four home runs of their own — from Patrick Wisdom, Jonathan Villar, Christopher Morel and Ildemaro Vargas — but all came with the bases empty.

Diamondbacks third baseman Josh Rojas hit three home runs — two off Hendricks and one off reliever Daniel Norris — as the Cubs (15-23) lost their third consecutive game after winning four in a row.

At his best, Hendricks is the pitcher you want on the mound at Wrigley Field in windy conditions — not only does he keep the ball down, but generally isn’t fazed by wind-blown homers. But he had no margin for error in this one.

“Today, I felt pretty good, to be honest — made a lot of good pitches,” Hendricks said. “They put some good swings on a couple of pitches I missed and that was really it.”

Rojas came into the game without a home run in 40 at-bats this season. He was 0-for-3 against Hendricks at Chase Field last Saturday.

“The first thing when I got there, everybody was talking about how it was a windy day,” Rojas said, “so I went out during [batting practice] to see how it was blowing out pretty hard, so I knew it was going to be a good day to get the ball in the air.”

Hendricks wasn’t as sharp as he needed to be. With two outs in the first inning,he walked Christian Walker and David Peralta to load the bases, and Jake McCarthy’s two-run single put the Cubs in a 2-0 hole.

Wisdom homered and Christopher Morel hit an RBI single for a 2-2 tie in the second. But Rojas and Peralta homeredn the the third inning to give the Diamondbacks a lead 4-2 lead they would not lose. Rojas hit a two-run homer off Hendricks in the fifth to give the Diamondbacks a 6-3 lead.

“He [Rojas] just put a couple off good swings on it — pitches I beat him with in [Arizona] and in his first [at-bat], too,” Hendricks said. “Maybe just pulled it a little more middle with fastballs. Just got to trust my changeup a little more and throw some heaters [inside].”

Trailing 9-3 in the seventh, the Cubs had a chance to get back in the game. After Morel and Ildemaro Vargas hit back-to-back homers, the Cubs trailed loaded the bases with two outs with a chance to tie. But Alfonso Rivas struck out to end the inning.

So if there’s any lesson, it’s that there’s only one Fergie Jenkins.

“It’s awesome seeing all the highlights that they’re always showing here,” Hendricks said when asked about Jenkins. “It really set the tone, the way he attacked hitters, not walking guys — that’s kind of what I try and do every time out. Obviously one of the best ever to do it and so deserving of what he got today. That [ceremony] was a pretty awesome moment.”

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